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Property restoration firm to face industrial disease claims?

Property restoration firm to face industrial disease claims?

Industrial disease claims could be launched against a property restoration and development firm after it emerged it exposed people to asbestos.

J Hodgson and Sons of Sleaford put employees and members of the public in danger of coming into contact with the potentially-lethal substance while conducting a refurbishment project at a pub in Southgate, Lincolnshire, between March and June 2011.

An investigation conducted by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has found that asbestos insulation boards were disturbed during this work, with the firm instructing staff to place these materials in an open skip close to a busy thoroughfare while the building was stripped out.

This failing was immediately reported to the HSE by a surveyor who uncovered it while inspecting the site, and a Prohibition Notice was served to the firm to stop all work from taking place at the pub.

The company was also informed that it must get a licensed asbestos removal organisation in to remove the offending materials before work could continue.

Nevertheless, during a case heard at Lincoln Magistrates' Court, J Hodgson and Sons has admitted two separate breaches of the Control of Asbestos Regulations 2006 for its failure to prevent the spread of the material.

As a result, the company was issued with a fine of £2,000, but anyone who was put in danger by its negligence could now opt to start legal action in pursuit of civil damages.

According to HSE figures, asbestos-related illnesses cause more than 4,000 deaths every year and although many buildings still contain the substance, it must be managed correctly to ensure it does not endanger lives.

Sam Russell, inspector at the body, commented: "[J Hodgson and Sons] first put workers' health at risk by disturbing asbestos and then that of the public by putting the insulation board in an open skip close to a busy thoroughfare between a car park and Sleaford's main shopping area."

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Posted by Trusha Vyas